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Strokes | Room on Fire | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop

The Strokes

Room on Fire (RCA)
by Tim Den

Alright, so Is This It eventually (stubbornly) won me over, just like it did with the rest of the human race. I admit it: I grew to love the minimal-pop-songs-disguised-as-retro-chic schtick, cuz fucking damn it, the tunes just kick! I mean, it's like vocalist/main songwriter Julian Casablancas just knows what a short 'n' sweet song needs. Without ever having to stretch himself, he somehow manages to fulfill every hook's potential to its utmost extent. It's so catchy and so effortless, it's scary. Face it, people: The Strokes are hyped for a reason.

Room on Fire is more of the same downstroke, bare bones cool, albeit with a tad more guitar fireworks thrown in (those are guitar effects, not keyboards, you're hearing on single "12:51"). For those of you who still don't think guitarists Albert Hammond Jr. and Nick Valensi can play, check out the counter-melodies their arpeggios spew all over this album (particularly on "Reptilia" and "Automatic Stop"). Like Casablancas, these guys know what to say, when to say it, and how much to say. And the results are as addictive as the first time you heard "Last Nite." You just can't get enough.

A bit o' Marley worshipping on "Under Control" later, and I'm convinced that The Strokes are here to stay. They're not an overnight trend, nor are they a novelty retro act, cuz as long as they continue to write naturally arresting albums like Room on Fire, they will continue to be relevant artists with a long career ahead of them.

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